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Nutrition for Women Over 40: What You Need To Know, Do, and Avoid

By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

nutrition for women over 40

You need to fully understand nutrition for women over 40 to boost your life expectancy and overall quality of life.

With aging, often comes a slower metabolism and a higher risk of nutritional deficiencies.

That's why knowing what to eat and what to avoid is important.

Learn how to promote health and wellness, look and feel your best, and maintain exceptional nutrition for women over 40!

Here's how to boost your metabolism — at any age!

The Natural Hormone Balancer Busy Women 40+ Are Using For Improved Mood, Sleep, Skin, Stress & Easier Weight Loss

At around 40, most women's hormone levels begin a “rollercoaster' ride, which eventually culminates in menopause. You feel tired all the time. It's hard to lose weight. Your body doesn't respond to diet and exercise like it used to. But now, it doesn't have to be that way for you…

Changes That Happen Over 40

There are several changes many women experience after age 40, including:

Metabolism Changes

Women's metabolisms tend to slow down after 40 for numerous reasons.

Hormones often fluctuate, causing lower levels of estrogen or thyroid hormone.

Furthermore, muscle mass tends to decrease in women over 40.

Because muscle burns more calories than fat, less lean mass means a slower metabolism and fewer calories burned throughout the day.

Hormone Changes

Estrogen levels tend to decrease over 40, especially with menopause in women.

These changes can contribute to low energy levels, weight and body fat gains, less lean body mass, and a higher risk of osteoporosis.

Women are more likely than men to experience low thyroid hormone levels, also known as hypothyroidism, which is linked with fatigue, weight gain, hair changes, and feeling cold.

Nutrition Requirement Changes

Women over 40 have different nutritional needs than their younger peers.

They often need fewer calories to maintain their weights, smaller portions to achieve calorie goals, more calcium, less iron, and more vitamin D after age 70.

Nutrition for Women Over 40: What to Eat

Women over 40 can follow a few simple tips to ensure they meet, but not exceed, their daily nutritional requirements.

Examples include:

Protein-Rich Foods

Protein foods help maintain lean body mass, minimizing the effects of age-related muscle loss to keep your metabolism high.

Dairy foods and plant-based alternatives are rich in protein, calcium, and vitamin D, which enhance teeth and bone health.

Soy protein is a good source of estrogen-like compounds, which studies show may improve symptoms of menopause in women.

Examples of muscle-building foods to include in your diet are:

  • Lean meat: lean cuts of organic beef, pork, venison, or buffalo
  • Poultry: chicken, turkey, and duck
  • Fish: salmon, canned light tuna, catfish, haddock, herring, perch, tilapia, pollock, or other low-mercury fish
  • Seafood: shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, crawfish, and other types of seafood
  • Eggs: whole eggs, egg whites, and egg substitutes
  • Dairy foods: milk, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, plain kefir, and reduced-fat cheese
  • Dairy equivalents: soy milk or protein-enriched plant milk
  • Protein shakes: low-sugar ready-to-drink protein shakes or homemade protein shakes [made with protein powder, plant milk, fruit or nut butter (optional), and ice]
  • Plant-based meat substitutes: veggie burgers, meatless chicken strips, meatless sausage, tofu, tempeh, and seitan
  • Legumes: green peas, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, lima beans, soybeans, lentils, and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds
  • Nut and seed butter: peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, and sunflower butter

Choose a variety of protein-rich foods at each meal and snack, and aim to consume three servings of dairy foods or calcium-rich (plant-based) equivalents daily.

Nuts, seeds, nut butters, and soy milk are excellent sources of protein AND heart-healthy fats.

Meet SuperFuel. The Delicious Protein Shake Packed With 40+ Energy-Boosting Vitamins & Superfoods (Designed For Busy Women)

As a busy women, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating. That’s why we created SuperFuel… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake for busy women 40+ to give your body the protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, and muscle building.

Fiber-Rich Foods

Whole, plant-based foods are loaded with fiber, which is beneficial for nutrition for women over 40.

Fiber can:

  • Reduce constipation
  • Maximize gut health
  • Aid in healthy weight management
  • Enhance weight loss
  • Reduce high cholesterol
  • Lower your risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes

Examples of fiber-rich plant foods include:

  • Fresh fruits: berries, melon, bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi fruit, and more
  • Non-starchy vegetables: leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, bell peppers, green beans, zucchini, asparagus, mushroom, onions, artichokes, and more
  • Starchy vegetables: corn, sweet potatoes, green peas, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, lima beans, soybeans, lentils, and other legumes
  • Whole grains: brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, bulgur, and other whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds

Aim to eat about 2 servings of fruit and at least three servings of vegetables daily, as well as a variety of other fiber-rich foods.

Heart-Healthy Fats

Heart-healthy fats, as the name implies, offer many benefits for your heart.

These fats boost satiety and help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

Omega-3 fatty acids enhance brain health, lowering your risk of cognitive problems linked with aging in men and women.

Furthermore, good fats contribute to healthy hair, skin, and nails.

They improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, D, and K).

Add some of the following fats to your menu to achieve exceptional nutrition for women over 40:

  • Olive oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Fresh or dried coconut
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and other oily fish)
  • Fish oil supplements
  • Vegan omega-3 supplements

Algae oil is a good source of vegan omega-3 fatty acids and is usually present in vegan omega-3 supplements.

Always check in with your doctor before taking dietary supplements.

Nutritious Drinks

Nutritious drinks are free from added sugar, artificial colors and flavors, artificial sugars, and other additives.

Examples of nutritious beverages that optimize nutrition for women over 40 include:

  • Water
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Water mixed with 100% fruit juice
  • Milk
  • Plant milk
  • Plain kefir
  • Low-sugar protein shakes
  • Coffee
  • Tea

Drink a lot of water and a variety of nutrient-dense drinks throughout the day.

Many women need about 12 cups of fluid daily to prevent dehydration and keep energy levels high.

Find out the easiest way to drink more water everyday!

Foods and Drinks to Avoid

Another way to maintain excellent nutrition for women over 40 is to limit or avoid the following not-so-healthy foods and drinks:

  • Processed meats: hot dogs, regular bacon, ham, salami, deli meats, sausage, and other highly processed meats
  • Refined grains: white bread, white rice, white hamburger or hot dog buns, baked goods, sugary cereals, and other refined grains
  • Fried foods: fried meats, fried chicken, fried seafood, chicken fried steak, French fries, fried cheese curds, mozzarella sticks, and other fried foods
  • Not-so-healthy condiments: ketchup, barbecue sauce, sugar-sweetened salad dressings, other sugar-sweetened condiments, sweet pickles, gravy, and other white sauces
  • Sweets: cookies, ice cream, candy bars, candies, cakes, and other sweet treats
  • Unhealthy drinks: soda, diet soda, sugar-sweetened sports drinks, sugar-sweetened juice drinks, lemonade, sweet tea, and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Alcoholic drinks

If you do drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

That means one drink or less daily for women and two drinks or less per day for men.

Better yet, limit drinking occasions to once weekly (or less) or avoid alcohol altogether.

If you drink, choose red wine or other lower-calorie alcoholic beverages, as some alcoholic drinks contain up to 500 calories or more per serving!

Find out if drinking alcohol and losing weight can be done at the same time!

Am I Meeting My Body's Nutritional Needs?

If you're like many women over 40, you wonder if you're getting enough of the nutrients needed to meet your body's daily demands.

There are a few things you can do to find out!

Evaluate Your Energy Levels

If you meet your body's nutritional needs and your hormone are balanced, chances are you have enough energy to feel good and stay active throughout the day.

Nutrient deficiencies can cause tiredness, so if you're getting plenty of sleep and you still feel sluggish, check in with your doctor.

Have Routine Blood Tests

Routine blood tests are beneficial for assessing nutrition for women over 40 for many reasons.

A blood test can detect iron deficiency anemia, vitamin D deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, and other vitamin or mineral deficiencies linked with unpleasant symptoms.

Blood tests can detect low estrogen levels, thyroid imbalances, and other hormone problems in women.

They allow your doctor to assess blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and other health parameters and detect or rule out medical problems.

Meet Heart RX. The Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Healthy Circulation Support For Women 40+

Heart RX is for women who are taking (or have taken) medication for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Heart RX will provide you with the natural support to improve all aspects of your heart health – including: blood pressure, healthy cholesterol, and better circulation.

Undergo Periodic Bone Density Scans

Over half of Caucasian women age 50 and older have low bone mass or weak bones.

Undergoing periodic bone density scans allows your doctor to detect low bone density and treat your condition, to reduce your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

A bone scan often involves an injection and undergoing painless imaging tests that detect weak, brittle, or broken bones.

If you have low bone density, your doctor may recommend you take medications, make diet or exercise changes, take dietary supplements, and avoid smoking and drinking excessive alcohol.

Meet Joint RX. The Advanced Joint Support, Recovery Aid, Inflammation & Pain Reducer for Women

Joint RX is for women feeling the aches of getting older and want a research-backed supplement to feel better & move younger. It will help reduce pain in your problem areas and help you workout with less pain. Joint RX increases your body's natural joint lubrication to boost your healing and recovery.

Monitor Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI estimates body fatness and chronic disease risks based on your body weight and height.

Your BMI is a good indicator of whether you're underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. BMI categories are as follows:

  • Underweight = less than 18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = 30 or greater

You can try a BMI calculator or use the following formula:

  1. Multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 703.
  2. Divide that number by your height in inches.
  3. Divide by your height (in inches) once again.

Ways to Maximize Nutrition for Women Over 40

There are plenty of ways to maximize nutrition for women over 40, so you can look and feel your best at any age:

Portion Your Plate Properly

Portioning your plate properly during meals is one of the best ways to meet your body's nutritional needs and manage a healthy weight.

Fill half of your plate with non-starchy veggies and one-fourth of your plate with meat, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood, or meat substitutes.

Fill the remaining one-fourth of your plate with whole grains or starchy vegetables.

Consume three servings of dairy foods or calcium-rich equivalents daily, eat about two servings of fruit, and add healthy fat to each meal.

Take Dietary Supplements for Women Over 40

Taking dietary supplements designed for women over 40 is one of the best ways to avoid nutrient deficiencies, keep energy levels high, and lower your risk of illness and disease.

Popular supplements for women include multivitamins, calcium and vitamin D supplements for bone health, fiber supplements, omega-3 fatty acids for brain health, probiotics, powdered greens, and protein powder.

Some supplements for women can reduce unpleasant symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

The Immune Booster Women 40+ Are Using To Kill Viruses & Feel Younger…

As women age, our immune systems get weaker. It’s a fact. After 40, you become more vulnerable to viruses, cancers, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Average women just let this all happen. But now, with Immune Booster RX, you can take the power back.

Have Your Hormones Checked

Hormone balance is the key to keeping your metabolism high, having enough energy to stay active, and managing a healthy weight.

If thyroid hormone, estrogen, or other hormones aren't balanced, your doctor may recommend you take medications or undergo hormone replacement therapy.

Stay Active Daily

In addition to getting the proper nutrition for women over 40, stay active daily to maximize your health, keep your bones healthy, and reduce disease risk factors.

Exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week, and participate in active chores or hobbies at least 45 minutes daily.

The more you move around vs. sitting down, the better you'll feel!

Get Lots of High-Quality Sleep

Sleep is extremely important for your overall health and wellness.

Aim to sleep at least 7 hours every night.

Set a regular bedtime and avoid screen time, caffeine, alcohol, very large meals, or feeling hungry right before bed.

Sleep in a cool dark room and keep stress levels as low as possible.

Try guided sleep meditation or reading a book before you go to sleep.

Try this simple technique to fall asleep and relax your mind before bed!

Don't Smoke

Smoking is harmful to your health for many reasons.

In addition to increasing your risk of cancer and lung diseases, smoking decreases nutrient absorption and increases your risk of osteoporosis.

If you struggle to quit smoking, try a smoking cessation group or ask your doctor about medications and other treatments that can help you quit for good.

Limit or Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol adds calories to your menu but doesn't contribute to your daily nutritional needs.

If you do drink alcohol, do so in moderation (one drink or less) and limit drinking occasions to once weekly if possible.

Avoid mixed drinks containing diet soda, soda, lemonade, and other sugar-sweetened drinks.

Spend Time with Loved Ones

Spending time with friends and family members is a great way to reduce stress and enjoy life to its fullest, which enhances your mental health.

Invite loved ones to hike, swim, rollerblade, or enjoy other fun outdoor activities.

Encourage them to help you prepare nutritious meals at home!

Join a Healthy Living Program for Women

Structured healthy living programs optimize nutrition for women over 40.

Check out the FM30X Program or try the free Fit Mom Jumpstart!

The Fit Mother Project has helped hundreds of thousands of members get fit, meet daily nutritional needs, and maintain healthy weights for life!

Erin Coleman

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

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  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on nutrition for women over 40.

Join Fit Father 30X

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Our Fit Mother Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Mother Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Mother Blog and YouTube channel:

  1. All of our content is written and reviewed by licensed health professionals (dieticians, personal trainers, doctors).
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  3. We include research-based videos to accompany our articles to make it easier for you to consume our content, put it into action, and see results.
  4. Inside our articles & videos, we do promote our free meal plans, workouts, and/or paid programs, because we know they have the potential to change your life.
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Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality.

– The Fit Mother Project Team

 

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